Bisexual individuals (and those who use similar labels, such as pansexual; collectively referred to as bi+) are at increased risk for negative health outcomes compared to both heterosexual and gay/lesbian individuals. These disparities are largely due to the unique stressors they experience, such as dual discrimination (i.e., discrimination from heterosexual and gay/lesbian individuals). Additionally, many people do not even recognize being bi+ as a legitimate sexual orientation (e.g., they view it as experimental or transitional), making it effectively invisible in society. This invisibility is of great concern to bi+ individuals, but little is known about if and how they attempt to gain visibility.
The overarching goal of the Bi+ Visibility Project is to advance our understanding of bi+ individuals’ attempts to make their sexual identity visible to others (referred to as visibility attempts). Specifically, the Bi+ Visibility Project aims to answer the following questions:
- How frequently do bi+ individuals use different strategies to make their bi+ identity visible to others?
- Does the frequency of making visibility attempts differ across contexts (e.g., in different environments, with different people)?
- What motivates bi+ individuals to make visibility attempts?
- To what extent do bi+ individuals perceive different types of visibility attempts as successful in communicating their bi+ identity to others?
- How do different types of visibility attempts relate to bi+ stressors, aspects of bi+ identity, and health?
These questions will be addressed in two phases. First, 500 bi+ individuals will participate in a survey focused on visibility attempts, bi+ stressors (e.g., discrimination, internalized stigma), aspects of bi+ identity (e.g., centrality, pride), and health (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance use). Then, 125 bi+ individuals from the larger sample will participate in a 28-day daily diary study. The daily diary data will be used to examine antecedents and consequences of visibility attempts in close to real time.
Findings from the Bi+ Visibility Project have been published in a series of journal articles. We will continue to update this list as we publish more findings from the project.
- Bi+ Visibility: Characteristics of Those Who Attempt to Make Their Bisexual+ Identity Visible and the Strategies They Use
- Use of Different Strategies to Make One’s Bisexual+ Identity Visible: Associations with Dimensions of Identity, Minority Stress, and Health
- Motivations for Sexual Identity Concealment and Their Associations with Mental Health Among Bisexual, Pansexual, Queer, and Fluid (Bi+) Individuals
For more information on bi+ visibility, here is an infographic with findings from one of our studies on the topic: